Sunday, November 27, 2022

Ina's Overnight Macaroni & Cheese

 I've got endless reasons to be thankful and this Overnight Macaroni & Cheese is one of them! 

We are all looking for those delicious make ahead dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners. Anything to help ease the workload on the big day, right?

Well, when I laid my hands on Ina Garten's latest cookbook, Go-To Dinners, her Overnight Macaroni & Cheese recipe just jumped off the page. I just knew I would be serving it for Thanksgiving!

Now I've never made an overnight macaroni and cheese before, but I have total trust in Ina's recipes so I was willing to risk making this recipe for the first time on Thanksgiving day. This recipe was so very easy - anyone could, and should, do it!

You simply cook your pasta for about 4 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, you get a rather large bowl and fill it with 4-1/2 cups of heavy cream and the Gruyere and Sharp Cheddar cheeses. You season with salt and pepper and then stir in the drained, hot pasta. Ina grates some nutmeg in there. I didn't. Then you refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours. Don't fret when you uncover the macaroni 24 hours later to see that all the cream has been soaked up (picture below). It is going to be okay. I added a splash of whole milk to loosen things a touch and then transferred all the macaroni to the baking dish.

The macaroni needs to sit out for about an hour so that it can come to room temperature before being baked. Top it with the remaining Gruyere and Sharp Cheddar and then make some fresh white breadcrumbs. Use some good bread because these breadcrumbs are THE BOMB.... holy cow, they totally make the dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with some melted butter and cover the top of the macaroni and cheese. Put this baby in the oven and in about 25-30 minutes you are in for the most indulgent, creamy, cheesy, most delicious breadcrumb topped macaroni and cheese of your life! Seriously, those fresh breadcrumbs are total perfection and make the whole dish.

This Overnight Macaroni & Cheese was the hit of the entire Thanksgiving meal. Everyone raved about it and requested it again for next Thanksgiving! Thanks, Ina!

Overnight Macaroni & Cheese

Adapted from Go-To Dinners

by Ina Garten

 Serves 6

salt and black pepper

12 ounces cavatappi pasta*

4-1/2 cups heavy cream

3 cups Gruyere cheese, divided (8 ounces)

1-1/2 cups grated sharp white Cheddar, such as Cabot, divided (4 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for the dish

2-1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs

A day before you plan to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook for 4 minutes (it will be undercooked). Drain (don't rinse) and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium (10-inch) bowl, combine the cream, 1-1/2 cups of the Gruyere, 3/4 cup of the Cheddar, the nutmeg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper. Stir the hot pasta into the cream mixture, cover the bowl with plastic, and refrigerate for 24 hours. The pasta will absorb the cream and expand.

When ready to bake, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for about one hour. (You can also microwave it for 4 minutes) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a 9x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Stir the pasta mixture well, transfer it to the dish, and spread it evenly. Combine the remaining 1-1/2 cups Gruyere and 3/4 cup Cheddar and sprinkle evenly on top. Combine the breadcrumbs and the 3 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown. Serve hot! 

Thankful @ IHCC




Sunday, November 20, 2022

Ina Garten's Ravioli En Brodo

 I scored a copy of Ina Garten's latest cookbook, Go-To Dinners, and immediately couldn't wait to look through it. There is always one recipe that jumps out at me in every cookbook and this time around it was Ina's Ravioli En Brodo. Something about the time of year and a cozy bowl of ravioli in a light and flavorful broth just really spoke to me.

This recipe requires A LOT of chopping, but that is my favorite kitchen task, and once you're done, the rest is easy peasy. 

Two chopped onions, four chopped carrots, three ribs of chopped celery, and one bulb of diced fennel goes into a stockpot and cooks down and concentrates to make one of the tastiest broths. I was a little worried my husband wouldn't care for the fennel, but it wasn't overly pronounced and adds a subtle flavor that really just rounds out the broth.

Add a little Parmesan rind, or if you don't have one then just add some Parmesan. Add the chicken broth and eventually the ravioli and you have a really cozy and hearty meal that will really warm your bones and satisfy. We absolutely loved this and I will definitely be making it a lot! 

Ravioli En Brodo

Adapted from Go To Dinners 

by Ina Garten

Serves 4-6

olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

2 cups (1/2" thick) diagonally sliced carrots, scrubbed (3 to 5 carrots)

1-1/2 cups (1/2"inch) diced celery (3 ribs)

1-1/2 cups (1/2"inch diced fennel, top and core removed

8 cups simmering chicken stock

1 Italian Parmesan cheese rind*

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound cheese ravioli, fresh or frozen

freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, for serving

minced fresh dill or parsley, for serving

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, for serving

Note: I didn't have a Parmesan rind laying around in my freezer, so I just put in some Parmesan cheese. I also didn't feel like cooking the ravioli in a separate pot, so I just threw it in with the soup. I am not a fussy cook. I know that Ina does extra step so the ravioli don't get bloated with the liquid from the soup, but I also knew that my soup would be eaten up quickly and there would be no leftovers. Even if the ravioli got bloated up I was okay with that too. Of course, if I were entertaining or worried about presentation then I would opt for Ina's extra step. The choice is yours! Do what works for you! 

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium (10-11 inch) pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the chicken stock, 2 cups water, the Parmesan rind, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the Parmesan rind and taste soup for seasonings.

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling water with 2 tablespoons salt for 4 to 6 minutes (or according to pkg directions), stirring occasionally. Drain and spread out on a plate so they don't stick together.

For serving, place the warm ravioli in large soup bowls and ladle the hot soup over them. Sprinkle with Parmesan, dill, and a squeeze of lemon and serve hot. 

 Tasty Treats @ IHCC


Sunday, November 13, 2022

A Macaroni & Cheese Roundup!

Macaroni and cheese is one of our favorite side dishes here in the Stirring The Pot kitchen. Originally I wanted to make Ina's newest Macaroni & Cheese recipe this week, her Overnight Macaroni & Cheese.
You know what they say about the best made plans, right? daughter got real sick with covid, it's my son's 16th birthday tomorrow, and our upstairs heater broke so we have zero heat. I could go on, bu,t basically I forgot to prep the macaroni and cheese the night before and since it's overnight mac and cheese it was a total bust today.
I thought about it long and hard and decided that I've made a lot of macaroni and cheese over the years and I've never done a macaroni and cheese roundup, so here goes!

If you love macaroni and cheese like we do, you might want to try some of these! 

Click on the recipe title to be directed to the original post and recipe!

Ok, come on...doesn't this look delicious and perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner? Plus, you don't have to make the squash because it's already in the pasta. It's like a two-in-one!
Same kind of idea here...don't wanna make macaroni and cheese plus a green veggie? Just go ahead and put them both together. Look at us being multitaskers!
Tomato makes a great pairing with macaroni and cheese and Jacques Pepin will never steer you wrong with one of his gratins!
If you're feeling a little south of the border, then Rick Bayless's Salsa Mac n' Cheese is just as good as any! I love the idea of doing different salsa variations. 
If you're in the mood to be a little healthier with things, Ina's Crusty Baked Shells and Cauliflower is a terrific recipe. The cauliflower does a great job standing in for pasta and that crusty topping is oh so good!
 Once again, Pepin will never steer you wrong. He is pretty much a gratin genius! This mac and cheese is great if you have any leftover ham during the holidays that needs using up. This is a great way to do it and...everyone loves a one pot meal!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Half Baked Harvest's Six Ingredient Pumpkin Butter

  The flu has been making the rounds here in Kentucky. I've been down for the count for two weeks now and am just now starting to feel human again. My school district and the surrounding school districts are all closed for illness. Flu came early this year and it is no joke!

I was looking for a seasonal and easy recipe this week and this pumpkin butter fits the bills nicely! You can put all the ingredients into a slow cooker or let it simmer for hours OR you can put them in a saucepan on the stovetop and have this ready in about half an hour, which is what I did.

Pumpkin butter simmering on the stovetop smells like the holidays and is great to gift to neighbors and friends. It pairs well with good gouda cheese and is great on toast, biscuits, and/or crackers. It's also a great ingredient to use for baking. A quick visit to the Half-Baked Harvest site and you will find all manner of cookies, breads, and baked goods containing pumpkin butter. You might even see some here next week!

Six Ingredient Spiced Pumpkin Butter 

Recipe adapted from 

Makes about 4 cups

2 cans (15 ounce) pumpkin puree

1/3 cup apple cider

1/2 cup real maple syrup, plus more if needed to sweeten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Stovetop: In a medium saucepan, combine the pumpkin, cider, maple syrup, vanilla pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until the pumpkin thickens slightly, but is spreadable, about 20-30 minutes. Taste, adding more maple syrup if needed to sweeten. Remove from the heat and let cool (the pumpkin butter will thicken as it cools). Transfer to glass jars and keep stored in the fridge for up to 1 month or in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months.

Slow Cooker: In the bowl of your slow cooker, combine the pumpkin, cider, maple syrup, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt, Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours. During the last 45 minutes of cooking remove the lid to allow the pumpkin butter to thicken. Taste, adding more maple syrup if needed to sweeten. Turn off the heat and let cool (the pumpkin butter will thicken as it cools). Transfer to glass jars and keep store in the fridge for up to 1 month or in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months.

October Potluck @ IHCC